Streetcar's futuristic iPhone app lets you locate, book and unlock your hire car

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streetcar-unlock[UK] This one could be straight out of a science fiction movie. Streetcar, which claims to be the UK’s largest pay-as-you-go car club, has released an updated version of its iPhone app that includes the ability to unlock your hire car using the phone itself.

The app lets users search for and book nearby ‘street cars’ that are parked across 1,000 locations in London and other smaller British cities, such as Brighton and Cambridge, as well as manage their accounts and keep up with the latest news related to the service.

And of course, as already mentioned, members can also use the app to unlock their chosen hire car.

streetcar-iphone-shotIn predictable iPhone fashion, users simply swipe their finger across the app’s unlock toggle and – bingo – the car doors unlock. It basically replicates the same functionality as the Streetcar ‘smart card’ given to every member, although I’m sure using the iPhone instead is a lot more fun.

As one customer tweeted, it’s likely to give any self-certified geek the “tech shivers” the first time that they open their vehicle this way. It also points to a long predicted trend whereby the smartphone replaces your wallet.

Streetcar was launched in April 2004 after its founders were inspired by a similar model being tried in the U.S. The service claims 70,000 members who can hire cars for short city-type journeys from as little as £4.95 per hour, with the first 30 miles of fuel included. Essentially, it’s a kind of car sharing club designed to cut down on the cost of ‘car ownership’.

  • Piers Fawkes

    Erm, I know this sounds ery amazing but it’s a rip-off of the app that ZipCar has already created in the US. Nothing new here.

  • Richard Thomson

    Wouldn’t call it a rip-off. Zipcar’s isn’t actually card-less – you still need to use a zipcard to unlock for the first time.

  • Michelle Dewberry

    As a streetcar customer, this app has just made my life a whole lot easier. Thanks TC for alerting me to this.

    • Richard Alvin

      Great App & Michelle you have a great point because as a Street Car account holder myself they seem to have failed to tell their customers in a pro-active way!

  • iPhone Wallet

    These app is a wonderful creation that will give us a very easy life, i really like it!

  • Robert L

    Gonna have to try this out. In London later this week.

  • Rikki

    Michelle or Steve, can this replace the StreetCard entirely, or do I still need to buy the StreetCard to unlock the car at the start of the booking? Cheers!

  • Sesli Sohbet

    Street Car account holder myself they seem to have failed to tell their customers in a pro-active way!

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